Networking Tips from Wendy Beecham:
- Know your skill set but think broadly about what that is and don't be tied to the career or industry you had previously. For example, someone who was previously a teacher or from the HR capacity might very well have the skill set to do a sales training role.
It's important to understand both what you're good at and what you like to do, the environment you want to work in and then prepare a specific ask. Sources to use for this discovery process include Marcus Buckingham Strengthfinders and books like What Color is My Parachute? Also good to ask former co-workers and/or friends what they viewed as your best skill set.
- Then, get specific about what you're looking for. When you start to develop connections, it's important to leave the person with a clear picture so they can immediately think of people they might refer you to.
- Think of people you already know that you can network with (there is a slide in the deck above). You'd be surprised at how family, someone from Church or even your personal trainer might know someone who can help.
- Make a specific ask. Big difference between how women and men network - men network with people who can help them achieve a specific goal and then make the ask.
Women network with people they like and don't feel as comfortable with asking. Put yourself in their shoes. How often are you asked for something and you feel very comfortable providing support? The other person feels the same way.
- Most positions are filled via networking as people will first ask their own networks for referrals when seeking a job candidate. Look at the job posting sites on the Internet to identify open positions and companies that are hiring and then start asking your network who might know someone there.
Set up an informational interview to get your foot in the door. If you do send a resume, make it specific to the job posting AND make it stand out. Many people are using video and other toosl and techniques to make themselves stand out. Focus on your accomplishments and not on the chronology of the job experience you've had.
- Use resources like Linked In and FaceBook but be very aware of how you are portraying yourself. Employers check to see how you represent yourself on these public sites.
- Consider companies like Flexperience or Sage Consulting who have contracts with major corporations in the Bay area and place qualified professionals in marketing, HR and other disciplines on a contract basis.
That way if you can't work full-time, you can still be in the workforce and be building your network at work for when you're ready for a full time role.
- Don't talk yourself out of a job. Women have a tendency of not applying for jobs unless they fit the criteria 100%. Men will see they fit 50 percent and know they will figure out the rest. You will too
Wendy Beecham became the CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in September 2007. She has led a transformation of the organization, clarifying the mission, upgrading the quality of the programming, and adding new member benefits including an Online Community to enable deeper collaboration among members to enhance their impact.
Wendy was recently honored with both the 2010 Women of Influence award from the San Jose Business Journal honoring 100 women of influence in Silicon Valley and the 2010 History Makers Award.
Wendy brings over 25 years of corporate leadership experience. She spent the majority of her career in the field of electronic publishing, holding a variety of senior leadership roles including senior vice president of a division at LexisNexis Group and managing director of London-based Sweet & Maxwell Group, a legal division of the Thomson Corporation.
Prior to joining FWE&E, she was president and founder of Flawless Leadership, a boutique consulting firm that coached C-level business leaders on executive performance. In addition, she was Chair for two CEO Peer Groups with Vistage International, the world's largest CEO membership organization.
Wendy will be hosting the Senior Executive Forum: Connecting Experienced Women Leaders, at the PBWC Conference on May 11 at Moscone Center. It will offer a unique opportunity for senior executive women to meet and build relationships with their peers at other organizations to accelerate results in their work and life.
For more informaton about Wendy, go to www.fweande.org